New details in Hixton man's murder - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

New details in Hixton man's murder

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Jackson County (WQOW) - We have a lot of new information Friday on the murder of a man in Jackson County.

Lars Helgeson is in jail on suspicion of shooting and killing his father, Brian Helgeson. Autopsy results released Friday show Brian died of multiple gunshot wounds.

According to court documents we obtained, a friend of Lars Helgeson told investigators Lars told him he had shot his dad with a .22 pistol, put his body in an end loader, and hauled him to a wooded area and buried him on their rural Hixton property.

Brian Helgeson's other son told investigators he went to the home to check on his father. He said no one answered the door, but that he could see people moving inside and several guns on a kitchen table.  

A neighbor told investigators he saw several vehicles on the property that were not supposed to be there. He said no one would come to the door, but he saw Lars under the table. The neighbor says Lars eventually came to the door and appeared very white and was talking in circles.

The SWAT team was called to the home and found syringes and pipes consistent with drug use. They also saw loaded guns pointed at the door.

A search of the home this week turned up nine guns, and 17 empty .22 shells.

Lars Helgeson remains in custody. Formal murder charges are expected to be filed in the next several days.

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Jackson County (Press Release) - Jackson County Sheriff's authorities have recently obtained autopsy information regarding the ongoing investigation involving Brian Helgeson, 57, of rural Hixton.

According to the preliminary autopsy reports received by Sheriff's investigators, the victim in this homicide has been identified as Brian Helgeson. 

Further information received from the preliminary reports indicates that Brian Helgeson died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Identification of the victim was made by confirming known body markings, dental identification and family confirmation.

The autopsy was conducted at the Dane County Medical Examiner's Office located in Madison, Wisconsin.

The suspect in this homicide, Lars Helgeson, remains incarcerated in the Jackson County Jail without bond.

A probable cause affidavit has been filed with the Jackson County Circuit Court which will authorize the in custody status of Lars Helgeson until charges are brought by the District Attorney's Office. There is no further information on when those charges will be filed.

This case is still under investigation at this time and further information will be released when more becomes available.

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Jackson County (WQOW) - A manhunt in Jackson County ends and a body is found, but many questions remain.

Since Monday, the Jackson County Sheriff's Department had been looking for 57-year-old Brian Helgeson and his 20-year-old son Lars. Now, investigators believe they have found Brian's body, and Lars is facing murder charges.

Around noon Wednesday a manhunt was launched when someone was seen driving a stolen Chevy Suburban. Tracking dogs and an airplane scoured the area, and Lars Helgeson was arrested Wednesday night.

He's being held on suspicion of homicide after a body was found on the Helgeson property.

Family, friends, and neighbors of Brian Helgeson are mourning Thursday.  

"Unfortunately we received information and then we recovered remains of a person on the property believed to be Brian," says Sheriff Duane Waldera, with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department.  

Jerry Jarrett, a friend and neighbor of Brian, says, "I heard the bad news and hopefully I won't crack up now, but I did when I first heard it. Then I called my wife and gave her the bad news and she hadn't heard it either. But, yeah, it's a big shock."

Jarrett's property touches the Helgeson's property. He says over the years he and Brian developed a close friendship. "Brian and I always talked on the telephone. If we didn't see one another in a couple of days we were on the phone for a half hour or so talking. Just about the weather and how many deer he's been seeing out in the field and just life in general," says Jarrett.  

Law enforcement discovered a body buried in a wooded area on the Helgeson property Wednesday evening, around the same time Lars was taken into custody.

"It's a combination of witness information plus verifying it with our local K-9 unit. The blood hounds that we have helped out in that situation," says Sheriff Waldera.  

Because of the condition the body was found in, the Jackson County Sheriff's Department is waiting to confirm it is Brian Helgeson.

Sheriff Waldera says, "We have to take other measures to check that out. So basically identification, we have to use other resources, finger print, possibly dental records."

Law enforcement did say they believe the cause of death was from a gunshot. And they believe he's been dead for about 10 to 11 days.

Detective Tim Nichols, with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, says, "We have been provided with some possible motives but nothing we've been able to confirm at this point."

Jarrett says, "He hasn't been over and helped me with anything this last summer, but I find it hard to believe. It's not the Lars that I used to know. I know that."

Other than to say they're related, law enforcement wouldn't comment on their relationship.

Sheriff Waldera says, "Brian Helgeson would be the father of Lars and they lived in the same residence. As for the details of their relationship, and how it was, we're going to hold off on that right now."

Jarrett says, "I'll miss that, hearing that voice. I can hear him talking right now... God bless his soul."

At Thursday's press conference law enforcement said Lars has been cooperative. At this point they have not found the weapon used but did say there were other weapons on the Helgeson property. An autopsy is being done on the body in Dane County Thursday.

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UPDATE: During a Jackson County Sheriff's Office news conference Thursday, officials revealed they found a body on the Helgeson property believed to be that of Brian Helgeson.

The body was found buried in a wooded area Wednesday with help of a K-9. They believe Brian died of an apparent gunshot wound.

Sheriff Duane Waldera says they will need to use dental records or fingerprints to make a positive identification. Waldera said they believe Brian died 10-11 days ago but are waiting on autopsy results.

Lars Helgeson is being held at the Jackson County Jail on 1st degree intentional homicide. He has not been charged.

Waldera says the public is not in any danger.

(Press Release from the Jackson County Sheriff's Office) - On today's date, Thursday, September 26, 2013, Jackson County Sheriff Duane Waldera announces pending homicide charges and the recovery of a body in what authorities believe to be a missing person reported earlier in the week.

On Monday, September 23, 2013 sheriff's authorities responded to a report of suspicious circumstances and a reported missing person at W13279 Green Acres Road, Hixton in western Jackson County.  It was at that time, that a family member reported checking on a relative at his home and encountered strange behavior within the home. The relative contacted the Sheriff's Office.

During the initial part of the investigation, authorities were informed that family and friends were unable to make contact with 57 year old Brian Helgeson who resided on Green Acres Road in Hixton Township with his 20 year old son, Lars Helgeson.

While investigating the case, sheriff's authorities were told that a family member checked the home and observed an individual crouched inside the home apparently attempting to avoid detection.

Sheriff authorities checked the home and with the aid of the Emergency Response Team (ERT) cleared the home and found no one inside the residence and were unable to find either BRIAN or LARS.

Further investigations revealed that LARS HELGESON had recently been spotted in the area. Sheriff's investigators attempted to find LARS HELGESON without success.

Later that evening a vehicle was reported stolen close to the HELGESON residence. Sheriff's authorities speculated that perhaps LARS HELGESON had stolen that vehicle and notification was made to other law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout.

On Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at or about 10:30 AM, sheriff's authorities acting on a citizen tip made contact with the stolen vehicle. The vehicle was parked and a lone white male subject was observed fleeing from the vehicle in the area of CTH – P and Lincoln Road in Springfield Township in Jackson County.

That sighting triggered an extensive manhunt by law enforcement personnel in that area. Assistance was summoned from the Trempealeau County Sheriff's Office, Blair P.D., Wisconsin State Patrol and the Wisconsin Department of Justice, all who provided man power in the search efforts. Fixed winged aircraft was summoned as well to aid in the search as provided by the Wisconsin State Patrol. K-9 units were dispatched to aid in the search.

Unable to find the subject, Law Enforcement changed tactics and summoned the assistance of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The WDNR provided aircraft equipped with infrared technology to aid in the search.

Not long after the arrival of the DNR aircraft into the area, a local farmer reported to the Sheriff's Office that he spotted what he believed to be a juvenile in the area of Lowes creek Road and Green Acres Road. The citizen reported that the subject was spotted with his hands raised in the air. Sheriff's authorities responded immediately and found the subject on a farm field road, near the intersection. The subject, later identified as LARS HELGESON surrendered to law enforcement without incidents. LARS HELGESON, once in custody was transported to the County Sheriff's Office for interrogation.

As the search for LARS HELGESON was being conducted, investigators acting on information from two subjects interviewed by authorities conducted a search of the HELGESON farm. Authorities developed information that LARS HELGESON had shot and killed his Father and that he had buried his Father's body on the farm property.

Sheriff's authorities acting in conjunction with the department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigations found what appeared to be recently disturbed dirt and heavy earth moving equipment was summoned to the scene. In the afternoon hours of Wednesday, September 25, 2013 authorities unearthed a white male body from that location on the farm.

Although no positive identification of the body has been made, authorities believe that this is the body of missing person, BRIAN HELGESON.

The cause of death was not immediately apparent and the body will undergo an autopsy this morning.

While undergoing questioning by authorities, LARS HELGESON recounted the events leading up to the death of his Father and charges are now pending against LARS HELGESON for the homicide, according to Sheriff Duane Waldera.

More information will be forth coming when available.

Sergeant Pat LaBarbera, Jackson County Sheriff's Office

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Jackson County (WQOW) - The Jackson County Sheriff's Department says Lars Helgeson is now in custody. Law enforcement says he was taken into custody shortly before 6 p.m. on Wednesday near County Highway P in the Town of Springfield. They say he was not armed, and there was no incident. He is being held at the Jackson County Jail.

Authorities say they received a tip from a farmer in the area saying a man that matched Helgeson's description walking and holding his hands up in the air.

The sheriff's department says there is no word on the father at this point.

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Press Release from the Jackson County Sheriff's Office:

After an extensive manhunt today, authorities in Jackson County have taken a person of interest into custody in a missing person's case.

Sheriff Duane Waldera reports in a news release that just prior to 6:00 PM; today's date, sheriff's deputies arrested LARS HELGESON in connection with a felony stolen vehicle and as a person of interest in the missing person's case of his Father BRIAN HEGESON of rural Hixton.

Earlier this date, deputies acting on a citizen tip were able to find a reported stolen Chevy Suburban reported stolen several days earlier near the HELGESON residence. Upon contacting the stolen vehicle a WM subject believed to be LARS HELGESON was spotted fleeing into a wooded area. Sheriff's deputies from Jackson County, Trempealeau County along with the Wisconsin State Patrol flooded the area as well as special agents from the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Fixed winged aircraft was also dispatched to assist in the search for the individual and provided by the Wisconsin State Patrol.

According the Sheriff Waldera, while deputies stepped up the search as light began to fade; a citizen reported he spotted what he believed to be a juvenile walking down the roadway near his house with his hands raised in the air. Area deputies converged on the scene and arrested the subject without incident. The subject was identified as LARS HELGESON.  HELGESON offered no resistance in the arrest and was found unarmed at the time of his arrest.

Authorities continue to investigate this matter as LARS HELGESON was transported to the Jackson County Jail where he will be held on felony charges of vehicle theft.

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Jackson County (WQOW) - A manhunt is underway in the woods of Jackson County for the man being sought in connection with the disappearance of his father.

Lars Helgeson is wanted for questioning in the disappearance of his 57-year-old father Brian Helgeson. The rural Hixton man has not been heard from in over a week.

Around noon Wednesday a Jackson County deputy spotted a stolen vehicle believed to be driven by Lars. The man jumped out of his vehicle and fled into the woods. So far he has eluded dozens of deputies, tracking dogs, and an airplane trying locate him.  

He was last seen near the intersection of County Highway P and Lincoln Road, near the Village of Taylor.  

The sheriff's office says Lars Helgeson is considered to be unstable, armed and very dangerous.   They say he may try to steal a vehicle or invade a home to get access to a vehicle.

Residents in that area are being advised to lock their house and car doors and report anything suspicious to the sheriff's office.

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